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Equine Therapists & Entrepreneurs Stay Informed!

What is Pain and What is just a Misunderstanding for the Horse

Take some time today to breath and pray.


When so many hear the word "ground work" a lot of people have a misconception in their mind about what it is when any one person brings it up. Really the word ground work is used by so many to mean many different things.


So no one is wrong, but what is important is what is meant by it.


Everyone has a different definition of what ground work is. It can be a word used when they want to get the buck out of a horse and then never use it again, or it's a way to run the energy out of them, or whatever the case may be....but it is so far beyond that in my eyes. This is where the connection and understanding begins for horse and human.


It is amazing what can be done from the ground that can transfer to the saddle. Collection and connection is a crucial part that can be created on the ground first. Many holes in training can be seen once you jump in the saddle that are missed from things that happen on the ground first. Everytime we are out with our horse the training doesn't start in the saddle. It begins from the moment the horse sees you.


I have encountered more and many training programs that don't focus much on the importance of what goes on before getting up on the saddle. I have, however, been so fortunate for God to direct my life into some amazing mentors' hands and shed light on the possibilities that we can seek out in our horses.


Before my eyes were opened to all the signals the horse gives before the reaction happens, I too found myself in many positions with horses fighting on the ground or struggling in the saddle, riding a blown up horse, a barn sour horse etc; with minimal knowledge of how to keep my horse or myself safe.


I didn't pick up on the body language or smallest of signs they gave me prior to the bigger reaction coming out. Horses become louder with their expressions when no one is listening to the whisper first or even the thought they have before the whisper.


I strive each day to be better for myself for my horse to always analyze, what it is, I could have paid more attention to so that the next time I come back out with them my mind is in a good place mentally to receive the information they present for that day at that moment.


And even more so now, I seek the connection and what I can do to get that horse to want to be with me.


The other neat thing is you can teach a horse how to move each individual body part and leg just from the ground first then transfer it to the saddle. This helps prevent frustration when the horse is trying to figure out how to balance all the weight when the body is up there.


By starting on the ground first it helps isolate one thing for the horse to concentrate on first basically getting 4-wheel drive in our horses!


Each program has something good and bad to take away from it. Tools you will or will not use.


No method is perfect, but what is important is to not make excuses for the actions seen and to not blame the animal for what happens. All we can do is see what they present in front of us, take that as information, and figure out a way to keep the connection while getting the horse to think it's their idea in the process of the goal in mind, further creating a willing responsive horse.


When we pay attention to these signals from the ground and address it there first we can often times start to decide from a bodywork standpoint, what is pain and what is just a misunderstanding for the horse that we can improve upon for them in the training and connection.


Horses are very honest animals as many of us know. So if we can find a way to change the negative reaction we get with certain behaviors in a way that is understood through clear language, and without fear being inflicted, we can begin to shape the horse along into a willing thinking horse.


When potential pain is addressed or eliminated from the reactions we see, what we are left with is a lot more information the horse gives that can be addressed and approached from the ground before working back up in the saddle.


"When your horse follows you without being asked, when he rubs his head on yours, and when you look at him and feel a tingle down your spine...you know you are loved." -John Lyons


God really does help open new doors if we are only willing to overcome the obstacles before the door can be opened.


If today you find yourself focusing so much on something that keeps coming up in your mind whether that be a person, an event, a thought, a question. Take some time today to breath and pray. It could be God speaking to your heart in attempts to help you find an answer to whatever may be weighing on your shoulders.


Maybe he is even paving a new path and we could just be resisting the uncomfortable feeling that comes with change.


Why have I brought these things up? Because I know how it feels to be in the shoes of the unknown and the frustrated. I have been there in the wander... And have met so many wonderful people in life that helped show me a way, a different way, a new path that constantly has me rethinking my approach, rethinking my patience, and rethinking what the horse could be telling me.


No matter the age of a person we all experience life differently, at our own pace, in our own way and with this we never stop learning.


Something that has always stuck with me was something one of my mentors would say often, "The day we know everything is the day to hang up our saddle and walk away because we are going to get hurt".


Why is this? Someone who knows it all will eventually get hurt because they aren't willing to listen to the horse or the possibility that someone somewhere could know something different that can help, or that we aren't seeing something that someone else does.


It doesn't mean that we have to listen to everyone's opinions on how we should do something, but it does mean that good or bad there can be something new to add to the toolbox.



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